Page 4 Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, Indiana, Friday, March 18, 1988 Opinion The free exchange of ideas is the greatest protection of liberty. FROM OTHER PAPERS— Bridges: They 're in bad shape Indiana has 17,603 bridges, and the U.S. Department of Transportation says 51 percent of them are deficient in some way. Twenty-five percent of the bridges in Indiana are structurally deficient. Those statistics are sobering and alarming — and they're higher than the national average. Forty-two percent of the nation's 575,000 bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The nation isn't making much headway in fixing bridges. The number of bridges that deteriorate to substandard condition each year roughly equals the number that get repaired. In the face of this problem, Congress last year cut bridge repair funding by 20 percent to $1.6 billion over each of the next four years. The Department of Transportation says $51.4 billion is needed to replace or rehabilitate all deficient bridges in the country. Congress should take the lead in solving the problem by restoring, or even expanding, bridge repair money. Funds are available in the user-suppported federal Highway Trust Fund which has a balance in excess of $8 billion. By combining some of this federal money with matching state funds, we could start making progres in bridge repairs. A deficient bridge that carries commuter traffic and school buses is an unacceptable risk. Marion Chronicle-Tribune Legislators' Addresses Hoosier members of the United States Senate and Loganland members of the House of Representatives, their local and Washington (D.C.) offices and telephone numbers are listed for those who wish to contact them regarding national, state or local issues. SENATE DAN QUAYLE — 447 Federal Building, Indianapolis 46204, phone 1-317-269-5555; 524 Hart Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, phone 1-202-224-5623. RICHARD LUGAR - 447 Federal Building, Indianapolis 46204, phone 1-317-269-5555; 306 Hart Office Building, Washington D.C. 20510, phone 1-202-2244814. HOUSE JIM JONTZ -104 W. Walnut St., Kokomo, 46902, phone 1-800-544-1474 or 1-317-459-4375, or 302 Lincolnway, Valparaiso, phone 1-219-642-6499 in Indiana. His Washington office is 1005 Longworth House Office Building. His phone number in Washington is 1-202-225-5037. JOHN T. MYERS -107 Federal Building, Terre Haute 47808, phone 812-238-1619; 2372Rayburn House Office Building, Washington D.C. 20515, phone 1-202-225-5805. Berry's World 1 1988 l>y NEA. Inc. ''WAKE UP! Japan has targeted our club!!! In The Past One Year Ago The city of Logansport was forced to seek proposals on the open market for the purchase of four police cars after receiving no bids. Public Forum Policy JU ETTERS intended for publication should be addressed to Public Forum, 517 E. Broadway, Logansport, Ind., 46947. Each letter must be signed and must include the writer's address and a telephone number where the author can be reached. The Pharos-Tribune reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, spelling errors and libelous statements and to limit the number of letters from an individual author. "Thank-you" letters are not accepted for publication. Public Forum letters musl Delimited to400 words or less. Marianne Means Investment! Who is buying America? M, y office building, one block from the White House, was recently purchased by a British duke. Real estate developer Donald Trump is selling his million-dollar condos in New York hand over fist to rich Japanese investors. • The Soviets own four banks in California's high-tech Silicon Valley. Seventeen percent of our nation's banking interests are owned by foreigners. Foreign investors hold 10 percent of the $2.4 trillion federal debt and well over a trillion in American assets. Fifteen billion in profits was taken out of this country last year by rich aliens. We are watching the largest transfer of wealth this country has ever known, yet we do not know who is buying us up nor what it may mean for our future. The Reagan administration is encouraging the selling of America to outsiders to prop up an economy that might otherwise collapse under the weight; of the massive deficits. Mayors and governors compete furiously with tax breaks and other goodies to lure overseas money their way. But officials have made no effort to examine whether we are making a Faustian bargain, exchanging our spending binge for a loss of both political and economic independence. Rep. Richard Gephardt has based an entire presidential campaign upon beating up on foreigners for taking us to the cleaners with unfair trade practices. But the trade issue is peanuts compared to the phenomenon of undisclosed, unrestricted and unexplored foreign investment, in this country. A new book, "Buying into America: How Foreign Money Is Changing the Face of Our Nation" by Susan and Martin Tolchin, has generated a storm of controversy by arguing that we may be endangering our economic integrity and perhaps even our national security with our laxity toward foreign inroads into the power structure. "Our government has its head in the sand and we are trying to get it out," Susan Tolchin, a George Washington University professor, says. "Foreign investment inevitably means foreign influence. Once they own your assets, they own you," Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, observes. Foreign-owned corporations that operate here are free to contribute to political candidates, even though they cannot vote and their loyalties are to other countries whose interests may conflict with ours. Political action committees formed by foreign-owned companies gave $2.3 million to House and Senate campaigns in 1986. And their lobbyists are currently using their political clout to battle a section of the trade bill pending in Congress that would require the disclosure of foreign investments. It wouldn't stop them; it would merely make them public knowledge. If there's nothing wrong with them, why should they be hidden? Martin Tolchin, a journalist, points out that we are so much in hock to foreigners they can blackmail us into kowtowing to them by threatening to pull out of the American market. He thinks we may be capitulating too easily, since the investors are here not because of special treatment but because they make a profit. But other experts disagree: former Office of Management and Budget director David Stockman says we can't take the risk of offending them, no matter how small, because without their money we would be thrown into an economic crisis. The only law that requires public disclosure of foreign investment applies to the purchase of farm land, our most basic natural resource. But Susan Tolchin notes the law has a loophole that allows a foreign company or country buying up agricultural land to hide its identity behind dummy corporations. "Libya's Muammar el-Khadafy may even own land here; who would know?" she says. The Tolchins would like to see full disclosure, special precautions to prevent the takeover of industries essential to national security, the elimination of special favors and coordination among the various entities seeking foreign investment to assure that our own competitiveness is not endangered. This, they realize, sounds a bit like protectionism, a concept that they regard as outmoded. Protectionism is too broad a brush. Is it protectionist to negotiate in a tough manner? "Is it protectionist to say we're going to hold foreigners to the same laws we hold domestic companies?" Martin Tolchin asks, rhetorically. "We are still prisoners of Smoot-Hawley because we can't seem to get out of the groove and think for ourselves,'' Susan Tolchin notes. "We have to look at how our industries are at a distinct disadvantage against foreign companies that can borrow at home at much lower interest rates than ours and are often subsidized by their governments, as our companies are not." (Smoot-Hawley raised barriers against foreign commerce in 1930, provoked a trade war and exacerbated the Great Depression.) The Tolchins are provoking an overdue national debate. They admit that foreign capital has breathed a new life into many failing industries and generated millions of jobs. They concede that foreign countries may be less apt to think about going to war with us if their own funds could be affected, But the Tolchins are looking at the big picture. They are concerned about our very sovereignty. At a minimum, it is important that we stop operating in the dark. We should find out who's investing in what. In his farewell address, George Washington warned, "history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government." Means is a syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. Charley Reese Noriega! He may not be all that bad I have some cautionary words about the flap over Panama's National Guard commander, Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega. It's not that I wish to carry water for old Pineapple Face, as some Panamanians call him in mockery of the scars of his adolescent zits. It's interesting sometime to remember adult tyrants as children. It's always a lesson that we can travel from innocence to evil by our decisions. No, I ha ve nothing to say in defense of Noriega, but there are a few things we had better remember. One is that before the plug is pulled on Noriega somebody better have an idea about his replacement. The Panamanian National Guard is the only organization which has kept order in Panama. The State Department and the American press have a bad habit of joining foreign lynch mobs only to discover later the leaders of them are Marxist-Leninist tyrants. Another thing to remember is that Panama is not our country. It is not up to us to change their government or to throw out their dictators. For some strange reason, liberals, when they decide they dislike someone, set up a hue and cry that just because the U.S. has maintained diplomatic relations with a country and provided aid, we are responsible for the country's government. Hogwash. We gave Joe Stalin $11 billion worth of aid. I never heard the liberals say that Stalin was America's responsibility and that we owed it to the Russian people to overthrow him. This, You Are Responsible, is an old song of leftist agitators which they sing selectively. A third thing to remember is that even if Noriega is guilty of all charges, he's not the Lone Ranger. You need not think that only one man in Panama is corrupt and that if you get rid of him, everything becomes hunky-dory. Finally/while I despise drugs and believe we should take firm action against countries involved in trafficking, I think it is absurd for U.S. grand juries to indict officials of foreign governments. There are some instances where our criminal justice system is not applicable, and foreign relations is one of them. Noriega is Panamanian, he lives in Panama, he works in Panama (dictators have to go to work in the mornings, too), and whatever crimes he commits, he commits in Panama. Therefore, he should answer to Panamanian justice, not to court in the U.S. Furthermore, as crazy as it may seem to have to remind anyone, Noriega has only been accused, not convicted, of conspiring to import drugs into the U.S. If you're going to use the criminal justice system in this matter, then use it all — including the presumption of innocence. Grand juries do not decide guilt or innocence. An indictment is an accusation, not a conviction or judgment. I'm curious, even suspicious, of the current flap over Noriega. Whatever he is, he has always been. I've heard tales of his escapades going back to 1964. Why the sudden interest in the purification of Panamanian politics? I say keep our nose out of it and let. the Panamanians do whatever they wish. It's their country, and he's their problem. If the canal is theirs, even more so is Noriega. You can write this down in indelible ink: When Noriega goes, the situation will be worse from our point of view, not better. I can't think of a single reason for the State Department and CIA to break their record of swapping order for chaos in their little foreign coups. They've overthrown more'capitalists than communists. Reese is a syndicated columnist based in Orlando, Fla. Today In History Associated Press Today is Friday, March 18, the 78th day of 1988. There are 288 days left in the year. HISTORY HIGHLIGHT: On March 18,1965, the first spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov left his Voskhod II capsule and remained outside the spacecraft for 20 minutes, secured by a tether. ON THIS DATE: In 1766, Britain repealed the Stamp Act. In 1837, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, Grover Cleveland, was born in Caldwell, N.J. In 1922, Mohandas K. Gandhi was sentenced in India to six years' imprisonment for civil disobedience. He would be released after serving two years. In 1931, Schick Incorporated marketed the first electric razor.
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